The Info List - Friar

A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded since the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians
and Carmelites.[1]


1 Definition 2 Etymology 3 Orders

3.1 Major Orders 3.2 Lesser orders

4 Uses by other Christian traditions 5 Other usage of the name 6 See also 7 References

Definition[edit] Friars are different from monks in that they are called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience) in service to society, rather than through cloistered asceticism and devotion. Whereas monks live in a self-sufficient community, friars work among laypeople and are supported by donations or other charitable support.[2] A monk or nun makes their vows and commits to a particular community in a particular place. Friars commit to a community spread across a wider geographical area known as a province, and so they will typically move around, spending time in different houses of the community within their province. Etymology[edit] The English term Friar
is derived from the Norman French word free ("brethren"), from the Latin frater ("brother"), which was widely used in the Latin New Testament
New Testament
to refer to members of the Christian community. "Fray" is sometimes used in Spain and former Spanish colonies such as the Philippines or the American Southwest
American Southwest
as a title, such as in Fray Juan de Torquemada. Orders[edit]

Part of a series on the

Hierarchy of the Catholic Church

Saint Peter

Ecclesiastical titles (order of precedence)

Pope Cardinal

Cardinal Vicar

Moderator of the curia Chaplain
of His Holiness Papal legate Papal majordomo Apostolic Nuncio Apostolic Delegate Apostolic Syndic Apostolic visitor Vicar Apostolic Apostolic Exarch Apostolic Prefect Assistant at the Pontifical Throne Eparch Metropolitan Patriarch Bishop

Archbishop Bishop Emeritus Diocesan bishop Major archbishop Primate Suffragan bishop Titular bishop Coadjutor bishop Auxiliary bishop

Territorial prelate Territorial abbot

Liturgical titles

Acolyte Consecrator Lector Reader Subdeacon

Administrative and pastoral titles

Auditor Brother Chancellor Chaplain

Military chaplain Military ordinary

Coarb Confessor Consultor Curate Deacon Defender of the Bond Definitor Devil's advocate Diocesan administrator Ecclesiastical judge Episcopal vicar Exorcist Judicial vicar Lay brother Lay cardinal Monsignor Officialis Pastor

Assistant pastor

Personal prelate Preacher Prefect Presbyter Priest Protonotary Apostolic Saint

Blessed Venerable

Seminarian Vicar forane Vicar general

Consecrated and professed titles

Abbess Abbot Consecrated virgin Corrector Custos Friar Dean Grand Master Hermit Master general Master of novices Monk Novice Nun


Oblate Prior Provincial superior Rector Religious Superior general

Additional titles

Almoner Altar server Archimandrite Archpriest Archdeacon Canon Chorbishop Commissary Apostolic Datarius Honorary Prelate Minor canon Notarius Ostiarius Peritus Postulator Precentor Prince-bishop Promotor Fidei Protopriest Protodeacon Protosyncellus Regionarius

Organization titles

Grand Master

Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of the Holy Sepulchre Teutonic Knights

Catholicism portal

v t e

In the Roman Catholic Church, there are two classes of orders known as friars, or mendicant orders: the four "great orders" and the so-called "lesser orders". Major Orders[edit] The four great orders were mentioned by the Second Council of Lyons (1274), and are:

The Carmelites, founded c. 1155.[3] They are also known as the "White Friars" because of the white cloak which covers their brown habit. They received papal approval from Honorius III
Honorius III
in 1226 and later by Innocent IV
Innocent IV
in 1247. The Carmelites
were founded as a purely contemplative order, but became mendicants in 1245. There are two types of Carmelites, those of the Ancient Observance (O.Carm.) and those of the Discalced Carmelites
(O.C.D.), founded by St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century.

Conventual Franciscans
in their variant grey habits

The Franciscans, founded in 1209. They are also known as the "Friars Minor". The Franciscans
were founded by St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi
and received oral papal approval by Innocent III in 1209 and formal papal confirmation by Honorius III
Honorius III
in 1223. Today the Friars Minor is composed of three branches: the Order of Friars Minor (Brown Franciscans), Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
(Brown Friars with long pointed hoods) and the Order of Friars Minor Conventual wearing grey or black habits. The Dominicans, founded c. 1216. They are also known as the "Friar Preachers", or the "Black Friars", from the black mantle ("cappa") worn over their white habit. The Dominicans were founded by St. Dominic and received papal approval from Honorius III
Honorius III
in 1216 as the "Ordo Praedicatorum" under the Rule of St. Augustine. They became a mendicant order in 1221. The Augustinians, founded in 1244 (the "Little Union") and enlarged in 1256 (the "Grand Union"). They are also known as the "Hermits of St. Augustine", or the "Austin Friars". Their rule is based on the writings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinians
were assembled from various groups of hermits as a mendicant order by Pope
Innocent IV
Innocent IV
in 1244 (Little Union). Additional groups were added by Alexander IV in 1256 (Grand Union).

Lesser orders[edit] Some of the lesser orders are:

the Trinitarians, established in 1198 the Mercedarians, established in 1218 the Servites, established in 1240 the Minims, established in 1474 the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, a branch of the Third Order of St. Francis, part of the Franciscan
Order established in 1447 the Discalced Carmelites, established in 1568 the Order of Augustinian Recollects, established in 1598 through the Chapter of Toledo the Discalced Trinitarians, established in 1599 the Order of Penance, established in 1781

Uses by other Christian traditions[edit] Orders of friars (and sisters) exist in other Christian traditions, including the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans
and the Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers. In the Anglican Communion there are also a number of mendicant groups such as the Anglican Friars Preachers, The Society of St. Francis and Order of St Francis Other usage of the name[edit] Several high schools, as well as Providence College, use friars as their school mascot. The Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
team San Diego
San Diego
Padres have the Swinging Friar
("padre" is also a Spanish word for the priestly title "father"; in 1769 San Diego
San Diego
was founded by Spanish Franciscan
friars under Saint Junípero Serra.). The University of Michigan's oldest a cappella group is a male octet known as The Friars.[4] The University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
has a senior honor society known as Friars. In the order of the Knights of Malta, the short form Fra (for Frate) is used when addressing members who have taken vows. See also[edit]

Brother (Catholic) Priesthood (Catholic Church) Dervish Sadhu Bhikkhu


^ Stravinskas, Peter M.J., ed. (April 1, 2002). Catholic Dictionary, Revised. Huntington, Ind.: Our Friday Visitor. ISBN 978-0879733902.  ^ Catholic encyclopedia entry for "friar" ^ The Carmelite Order ^ "The University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Friars :: History". University of Michigan Friars. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 

v t e

Consecrated life
Consecrated life
in the Catholic Church


Secular clergy Consecrated virgin Hermit Religious institute



Cenobitic Enclosed Idiorrhythmic

Canons Regular Mendicants

Second Orders

Clerics Regular


Secular institute Society of apostolic life


Evangelical counsels

Poverty Chastity Obedience

Profession Solemn vow Vow of silence Vow of enclosure


Abbey Cloister Convent Hermitage Priory Refectory List


Contemplation Liturgy of the Hours Mass Meditation Mysticism Rosary


Clerical clothing Coif Cornette Scapular Vestment


Abbot Abbess Brother Monk Friar Nun Master of novices Novice Oblate Postulant Provincial superior Prior Sister Superior general


Asceticism Tonsure Vocational discernment

Catholicism portal

Authority control